more youParental blues, general brain-fry, the only way is coffee fuelled mornings, trying to get back to some sort of normal work mode, whatever it is that makes you feel like your eyes are on stalks and you’ve run out of steam we’re all very much, as the wonderful @selfishmother rightly says “Winging it”.

But how do you manage all of the above and still feel like yourself? You’re a mother now and that changes things. For me I absolutely adore it, but I also like working and having some version of independence. I’m freelance so it works for me, but its taken time to feel like it’s ok, it’s the right thing to do, I can still do it, I am still me, I have my good old confidence by my side and all the other emotions that go with it…

I’ve had a fair few other things on my plate as some of you already know and finding the old me has actually been quite tricky. Getting on with it not such a problem, but getting on with it as me? Well that’s something altogether different.

So what can you do to help you be you?

1 – Dress like you mean it!
One of the biggest things I struggle with every day is with what to wear and feeling comfortable in what I’m wearing. Finding new things that work with my new body shape, all the while desperate to embrace the new me, the ‘supposedly’ confident me, the me I always wanted to be and never had the guts to be me. I have the best excuse in the world. It’s fuck cancer and fuck you if you think I look stupid. It’s I want that tattoo and I’m gonna get that tattoo, it’s so what if I have my hair pink today and bleached tomorrow?
I’m still learning to do it. Some day’s I’m there, others I’m not, so here’s what to do on the not so days.
Look in your wardrobe and pick out an über outfit. Go for something fun, something you’re saving for best, something you think you should only wear on a special occasion. Slap it on and instantly feel good! If it’s sparkly, team it with a fun T or trainers. If it’s bright and patterned, add plain accessories. Whatever it is, just go for it! You’re dressing for yourself, not anyone else.

dress2 – Bright Lipstick
On the dullest of days, the days when it’s hard to get out of bed with a smile, you’ve got your flip flops on and you’re still in your joggers then just do this. The quickest and easiest way to be more you, feel more you and lighten up, is to put on the best bright lippy you’ve got. I swear to you with each glimpse of yourself in the mirror you’ll soon feel brighter and happier and able to get on with your day. My personal faves are a Red: Mac’s Rooby Woo, Orange: Mac’s Morange, Pink: Kate Moss Rimmel London Hot Pink.lipstick3 – Stay in the moment
There’s a great saying by ancient philosopher and writer Lao Tzu, “If you are depressed you are living in the past, if you are anxious you are living in the future, if you are at peace you are living in the present”. I think that sums it up pretty well. Just breathe and be happy being you. It’s you’re secret weapon.

4 – Treat yourself
Be pamper productive. I don’t mean to give you all absolute permission to go splash out if you actually cant’ afford it, but find a way to pamper yourself today and remind yourself of being you. Give yourself a little lift. No doubt being a mum you’ve earned it, so why the hell not? Anything that’s just for you is definitely a good way to feel more you. Get your nails done, buy an uplifting smelly candle, (I love anything zesty with grapefruit or lemon) even have a luxurious bath (preferably accompanied by a large glass of wine) Just take a little time out and get back to a relaxed you.

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5 – LAUGH and be good to yourself
The final trick is not to beat yourself up. If you’re already feeling bad about something, why add insult to injury?
It’s good to stop kicking yourself in the teeth for not doing it right all the time. Who cares, quite honestly a lot fewer than you might think, and those that do are not worth having on the listening to list!
Ignore any bad thoughts and go out there and have a laugh. It’s widely reported that laugher is the best medicine. A laugh a day keeps the doctor away, and it’s infectious too. Do something fun and feel better!

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Things I knew I wouldn’t be able to do after a double mastectomy…

Lift heavy objects i.e. full kettle, large pans, laundry basket, filled baby bath and heartbreakingly my 8 month old daughter for at least 4-5 weeks
Go swimming for at least 8 weeks in case of infection
Drive for a few weeks
Run around like a blue arsed fly
Pull myself up for the first few weeks (Hooking your hands behind you knee and using it as a lever works well)
Swivel side to side
Sleep on my side or any other position other than on my back and slightly elevated.
Crazy dancing or jumping jacks!
Generally live life as before… at least for a while…

Things I didn’t know I wouldn’t be able to do after a double mastectomy…

Flush the toilet (Unless sensory)
Chop vegetables
Slice bread (Thank god for pre cut)
Pull a heavy door open
Push a heavy door or swivel door open/round (I have to go backwards, bottom first)
Push down the seat on the tube
Hold onto the suspended handles on a tube or bus
Push my daughters buggy around, up a kerb, onto a bus or train..
Pull drawers open
Push drawers closed
Push lids onto my daughters milk/water bottles
Pull lids off my daughters milk/water bottles
Shake my daughters milk bottles (presumably I wouldn’t be able to mix cocktails either)
Open Jam jars or other stiff jars… and tight twistables…
Open or close sash windows
Use push down taps! (Quite irritating when you have a handful of soap)\
Shake the duvet cover
Make the bed in fact
Move furniture such as pulling out heavy chairs at a table, or push them back in as before.
And many other little push pull actions of everyday life…

So as October pulls to an end (October is breast cancer awareness month for those not in the know) and without wanting to harp on, just because it’s something I’ve been through… please do have a check of yourself and be aware of the signs. Catching it early can make a huge difference so it really is worth it!

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#breastcancer #breastcancerawareness #October #cancer #mastectomy #life #monmum #chemoqueen #royalmarsden
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The image that rocked the world! The ripples are still being felt everywhere not least among some of us mum bloggers. So here I join you all in sharing my voice on this sad and shocking headline and looking at the escalating crisis.

It was the image that made us stand up and listen and although the shock may be dissolving, the sadness and refugee crisis is far from reducing. In fact with recent boarder gates being broken and new routes being found, it’s actually gathering pace at breakneck speed.
Do we all go back to our normal lives and hope the problem goes away? Or do we still realise how lucky we are when we kiss our beautiful children good night and tuck them up in a warm safe bed, far from harm?
It pains me to see my daughter in even the tiniest amount of pain, be it teething or wind or any manner of things, so when I imagine the heartache of the father who thought he was bringing his children to a safer place, to a better life and losing them in such a way. A way in which I am sure he now blames himself for. A tragedy that I could not myself bear. To run from hell and hope for a better future, only to be met with a new kind of hell. And he, Aylan Kurdi and his older brother are not the only ones.

 

Tensions and frustrations are reaching boiling point and I for one cannot simply sit and do nothing.
Save the Children’s #SaveSyriasChildren campaign to donate £5 please text SYRIA to 70008 or any other charity helping Syria.
#savesyriaschildren #itcouldhavebeenus
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Brilliant Blog Posts linky #brilliantblogposts offers you an opportunity to share recently written posts and/or archived ones you want to champion, posts which are important to you.

When I was still pregnant I definitely took ‘nesting’ to my very own level of organisation, researching for those must have items and ultimately online shopping for things I was certain me and new baby would definitely ‘need’!

Having had Lux our beautiful daughter 7 months ago I can now honestly say that I bought a lot of crap I or we as a family didn’t need and also missed a few things along the way that we did or could have done with.

So I can now share with you what I consider to be the top baby essentials every new mum should not be without.
I have and use all these items everyday. Obviously you may have your own tastes as to which brands or designs of these items you like, but these are the exact ones we have, use and love!

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  1. Philips Avent 3-in-1 Steriliser currently on offer at Mothercare for £39.99 (bargain £20 off) – this steriliser is absolutely brilliant. I use it every day without fail and it takes only 6 minutes to sterilise everything. Easily fits x6 large Dr Browns bottles plus extras. You can also make it smaller if staying away for the night which makes it super easy to transport. I love this!
  2. Dr Browns Bottles. These bottles are fantastic. I had to emergency wean Lux of the breast due to starting chemo and she would not take any bottle to start with. She would push the bottle away… I was thinking, sh@t how the hell am I going to get her to take a bottle? Surely she is too young to be able to push a bottle away at 2.5months old? I felt terrible. I had tried about 6 different bottle types when after hearing good things about Dr Browns bottles for colic and so on, I thought I would give them ago. Success!!!! I do think that every baby is different but at the time it really did feel like Dr Browns had saved my life… or at least reduced my guilt at having to swap Lux from the boob to bottles. Also highly recommended for babies with colic. Newborn starter kit available at Mothercare.
  3. The Sleepyhead!!!! This is genius! Forget a moses basket, forget all these other luxurious carry baskets and easy cots, this is brilliant and so many of us mums have bought these and recommended them and recommended them again… Lux hated her moses basket and many mums I know also could not get their little ones to sleep in their various sleep pods until we all got our lovely shiny white sleepyheads. Now I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking I could actually just roll blankets and tuck them neatly inside and around the moses basket to create the same feeling for my little one, and yes, actually this is very true… (I did have the same thought) but in all honesty not to mention realistically when it’s 3am and the blanket has come unraveled or you’re off to overnight at the grandparents, will you really have the energy for this? Can you actually be bothered? In my view it’s the best £99 I have ever spent and all I needed to do on sleepovers is grab the sleepyhead handle and a large muslin as a cover and off we go… Super easy, super sleepy baby! Everyone’s a winner! Get it from John Lewis here.
  4. So the grandparents (in-laws) bought us this super Summer Infant baby monitor and I absolutely love it. I looked at quite a few and I know the motorola gets quite a good press, but I found the battery life died quite quickly and the signal is often more distorted than the Summer Infant which shows me a really clear picture both day and night, comes with a touch screen, adjustable monitor and a night light. The only thing I would say is that it does say the temperature is about 4 degrees warmer than it actually is. Maybe there is a fault with mine, but I haven’t worried about changing it, I just minus 4 degrees from the temperature gauge. Get it from Amazon.
  5. Oh Tommee Tippee I thank theeeee!!! This is the best thing in the whole world!! So I didn’t have one form the beginning. I was told about them by two friends who said, you should get one they are brilliant and I thought, hmm do I really need another gadget to take up yet more room in my kitchen? The answer is YES YES you Doooo!!! And so eventually (why I did not do this sooner I curse myself for still) I got one. and It’s made such a huge difference to my days. I was told this would make things easier for me – which is truly what I do need right now given everything, but this tommee tippee perfect prep is as it says in the tin, absolutely perfect. No more boiling and cooling, no more jumping startled from a little nap because you’ve just remembered that in fact you’ve forgotten to boil the kettle and your baby is about to wake screaming any minute.. Nope! Lux now has ver very own, what we like to call Cappuccino maker, which produces the perfect temperature bottle in just 2 minutes. (If that). THIS you must get!|!! YES! Currently on sale at the amazing price of £60 from Amazon or Asda.
  6. I love Weleda, they are really lush. My sis bought me some of their products in a lovely little ‘for Lux’ gift pack and I have to say it’s oooh sooo gooood! It’s natural with no nasty stuff in it and it also makes her skin (and mine when I borrow it) super soft!!! Like a baby’s bum hah! You can get it from health stores or boots or waitrose do it too!
  7. Lucky number 7 is for the boobies and nothing but the boobies! This ladies is the only thing that works! Get it – even if you’re not breast feeding, but mainly if you are! It’s fabuloso!!! When your boobs get sore (and if you’re expressing as well as breast feeding then they definitely will) apply this totally awesome, nothing else like it, Lansinoh Lanolin Nipple cream and away you go… Saved!  Get it from Boots or John Lewis. Sometimes cheaper on Amazon. (not the easiest name to remember though)
  8. This Medela Swing Maxi Double Breast Pump is considered to be the best Brest Pump on the market. I started with a hand held one – who was I kidding? Like you have the time and energy for that in the first few months…nope! My advice, either rent an ‘industrial’ one (not cheap) or buy this double whammy and get it done in half the time. Remember you’re going to be expressing at all sorts of random times (whenever you actually have 10 spare mins) so get something to help you get it done asasp. Then plaster your boobs with the Lanolin nipple cream!! I got my dbl pump from Amazon but John Lewis sell them too.
  9. We all need one of these! Can’t leave the hospital without one, so unless you’re planning a home birth, this is one thing you can get in advance! We got one that worked with our buggy and car, which is usually the best way to go 🙂 Love our confetti Maxi Cosi Pebble! Ideal!
  10. On the go a lot? Even if you’re like me and you buy one or two changing bags (that I am fed up with using now) so forget all that stuff about this is going to be the bag that I will carry every day for a year excuse stuff to get that really expensive one, because trust me, you won’t! I have three, yep, three and actually I am now very bored of them all and in fact, I’ve never used one of them because it’s too big, (which was the selling point originally) so if you just use any nice bag that you have and then maybe plonk one of these super duper, I use this every day, skip hop, pronto changing stations into it, you my friend are done! JL sell them and JoJo Maman Bebe too.
  11. This little number is genius! I’ve been stopped a fair few times and asked where I got my curtain from – It’s by Farg Form and it’s ideal, clips onto any buggy and comes in blue, pink, grey or green. Forget muslins clipped on with pegs! Look cool instead and get one of these! I bought mine from the baby shop who are super lovely and offer great customer service too!
  12. Isn’t this nursing pillow by smallstuff.dk awesome? I hated all those fluffy, babyish designs that most of the nursing pillows come in, or white, I mean why white? Get’s dirty super quick and looks terrible! So I got this über cool blue stars one (and yes I have a girl- wooaaahh) I can’t actually remember where I got it from but I found it here in two other colours and in navy from Dubuy dk.
  13. Muslins Muslins everywhere! You’ll be needing these and lot’s of them! I have about hmmm 20 odd and I still feel like I could do with more.. My faves as many of you will agree are from Aden and Anais an american brand (run by an Australian lady called Raegan Maya-Jones)  – Lovelyyyy!  I think I got mine at John Lewis but Amazon  sell them too.
  14. And in at number 14 (I know I know it’s a random number but what can you do…) It’s the lovely Farg Form ( and yes I do like my Scandi stuff rather a lot) Changing mat that I have in the nursery. Mine actually is grey printed with white sheep and not with the clouds (I do have the clouds on my FargForm buggy curtain and blind) but I love the clouds one too and I also love how it curves on the outer edges. Looks rather good in the  nursery even if I do say so myself!
    And so that’s it – there we have it – my top 14 defo must have new mum and baby items that we have at home and I personally, honestly really wholeheartedly would and do recommend!! Amen!

So things have changed and Fridays are now very different from ever before! Forget Friyay! I have now termed this day Friboo! (sorry to put a dampener on things)

The last few months have brought changes beyond belief and it’s time to fess up and put it down on paper. You never know maybe it will be helpful for someone else and for myself too.

Here’s how it all started… and I’ll dive straight in!

April 2015

There’s a glimmer in the air and hope on people’s faces as the sun pokes it’s head from the clouds and the early blooms start to pop up on the trees.
It’s the 1st if April and spring it seems is here, but the news we received today is certainly no April fools.
I’ve just been diagnosed with breast cancer. grade 3,  stage one triple negative! And I can’t believe it.
I’ve been here before… 18 years ago I had Hodgkin’s lymphoma in my neck and chest and that was no easy feat and what now seems to be the cause of this new cancer…

I had a bad feeling as we arrived in reception today, but I wasn’t expecting  a mastectomy and chemo to be part of the plan.
Turns out the radiotherapy I’ve had in the past, rules out a lumpectomy and radiotherapy, so a diep flap now seems to be the order of the day. It’s a lot to take in for all of us. My thoughts turn to practicalities as the questions seem to roll off my tongue, my wonderful other half looks at me in disbelief.
I’m not sure where they are coming from either or how I’m managing to stay so focused on getting everything in some sort of order. I guess it’s a way of staying in control and not letting the emotions take over.

Don’t get me wrong I’m seriously pissed off. I didn’t think I deserved to be here again, but what can you do?

If you want to check yourself then Breast Cancer Care’s diagram below is excellent, as it’s not just all about finding a lump!

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